Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37066194
Link to DOI – 10.1101/2023.04.07.536032
bioRxiv 2023 Apr; ():
Attenuating aberrant transcriptional circuits holds great promise for the treatment of numerous diseases, including cancer. However, development of transcriptional inhibitors is hampered by the lack of a generally accepted functional cellular readout to characterize their target specificity and on-target activity. We benchmarked the direct gene-regulatory signatures of six agents reported as inhibitors of the oncogenic transcription factor MYB against targeted MYB degradation in a nascent transcriptomics assay. The inhibitors demonstrated partial specificity for MYB target genes but displayed significant off-target activity. Unexpectedly, the inhibitors displayed bimodal on-target effects, acting as mixed agonists-antagonists. Our data uncover unforeseen agonist effects of small molecules originally developed as TF inhibitors and argue that rapid-kinetics benchmarking against degron models should be used for functional characterization of transcriptional modulators.